Microbes from the Freezer - Still Alive

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BBC News: “Ancient microbes ‘revived’ in lab

Microbes thought by some to be as old as eight million years are now alive and well (along with their progeny) in a lab at Rutgers University, reports the BBC. Recovered from Antarctica, the microbes were melted out of five samples of glacial ice that have been dated with old-earth methods to as “recent” as 100,000 years before present and as old as the aforementioned eight million years. Of course, we happen to disagree with the unbiblical, uniformitarian assumptions that prop up such dating methods.

"Experts say this process has been going on for billions of years, and is unlikely to cause human disease."

So what’s the point of this Frankensteinian project, whose details appeared in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences? Well, first, it’s portrayed as an omen of what a global warm-up could “unleash”:

The findings raise the possibility that ancient bugs, long frozen in ice, will return to life as climate change causes the glaciers to melt, flushing their genetic material into the oceans.
However, experts say this process has been going on for billions of years, and is unlikely to cause human disease.

(If you haven’t read Answers in Genesis’ cautionary view on global warming, be sure to visit Michael Oard’s Global Warming.)

But perhaps more interesting is the researchers’ conclusion that the bugs’ resuscitation has put a freeze on the “life came from space” idea, known as panspermia to astrobiologists:

The team suggests that because DNA in the old ice samples had degraded so much in response to exposure to cosmic radiation, life on Earth is unlikely to have hitched a ride on a comet or on debris from outside the Solar System—as some scientists have suggested.

Despite the discovery, scientists—such as study coauthor David Marchant of Boston University—haven’t given up on the “life in space” idea:

“The other thing that’s interesting about this is the connection to Mars. There’s near-surface ice on Mars where the surface landform looks identical to what you’ll see in [Antarctica’s] Beacon Valley.”

So, while still eager at the prospect of extraterrestrial life, evolutionary scientists are now faced with research by some of their own that contradicts the panspermia hypothesis. For more information about life in or from space, see our Alien Life.


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